The Senate, on Tuesday, confirmed the appointments of the four service chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 13.
The new service chiefs are Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Tukur Buratai as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar as the new Chief of Air Staff.
The confirmation came after four and a half hours of screening behind closed doors.
At 11.20am, the senate broke into a closed door session soon after Senate leader, Senator Ali Ndume had said: “That the Senate do consider the request of Mr. President, C-in-C, for the confirmation of the following nominees for appointment as Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs respectively for the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with Section 18(1) of the Armed Forces Act, CAP. A.20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Speaking on what transpired during the closed door session which ended at about 4:05pm, Senate president Bukola Saraki said the Senators raised questions and advised the Service chiefs regarding what Nigerians expect from them.
He explained that the questions and counsel were based on the anticipated responsibilities they are going to discharge to the country.
Saraki tasked them to thrash out corruption embedded in the procurement process of the armed forces, adding that widespread graft in the military had hampered its effective service delivery over the years. He also called on the service chiefs to justify the confidence reposed in them by the federal government by carrying out their responsibilities effectively.
He said: “On behalf of my colleagues, I hereby congratulate the service chiefs on their confirmation as service chiefs of the Republic of Nigeria. The appointment, as we all see, is coming at a very crucial time with a lot of challenges, particularly with insurgency in North-east and some of the other security issues – for example, the issue of oil theft.
“We need to observe also that they were all born in the 60s, so there are a lot of responsibilities as new generation officers to provide new direction and new leadership to our armed forces.
“We are all keen to restore the image and reputation of the armed forces. I believe that their confirmation is the beginning of the journey to restore the glory of the armed forces of our great nation.
“It is very important also that we emphasize the issue of the procurement procedure in the armed forces. It is an area that they must work hard to root out corruption.”
Also, Senate President Saraki disclosed that Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, would today lead other Senators to Adamawa on a visit to Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps.
This is in continuation of the upper chamber’s visit to the war-ravaged North-east, which was kick-started on Monday by Saraki, when he led senate delegates to Borno state where he made a cash donation of N10 million in support of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Other Senators on the trip are Senators Ahmed Lawan, Yobe North; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa Central; Binta Garba, Adamawa North; Ahmadu Abubakar, Adamawa South; George Sekibo, Rivers East, among others.